Intel I875P Canterwood Chipset Review

The newest and maybe greatest Pentium 4 chipset from Intel was released earlier this week, it of course being the Intel I875P "Canterwood" bringing a bunch of features to the Pentium 4 most importantly including 800MHz FSB for Intel's new range of bus increased processors. Hold on to your seats tightly as Cameron "Sov" Johnson gives us his opinion on the new and hottest chipset from Intel which he promises is the best yet!
Cameron Johnson
Published Thu, Apr 17 2003 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:25 PM CDT
Rating: 100%Manufacturer: Intel

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Introduction

IntroductionThe Pentium 4 platform is one of the most evolving platforms in CPU history. Originally designed on a 423 pin interface and RDRAM memory, it has now moved well into DDR country on an mPGA 478 pin interface. Intel last launched a new processor and Chipset platform in 2000. Intel since the introduction has seen many chipsets for the Pentium 4, and 90% of them are coming from Intel'ts own labs, only a small percentage has been from the third party chipset manufacturers.Originally designed with the I850 Dual Channel RDRAM chipset, the Pentium 4 became something of a high priced snail of the CPU market. PC133 SDRAM and DDR SDRAM proving they can hold RDRAM off should have led Intel down the DDR track much earlier. However, licensing agreements with Rambus prevented Intel from supporting DDR SDRAM before 2001. I845 chipset was released in order to reduce Pentium 4 platform costs. Designed to use PC133 SDRAM, it led Intel into a very large memory bottleneck. As soon as the agreements between Intel and Rambus had expired Intel moved straight into DDR SDRAM with the I845D chipset, this was the third Intel chipset for the Pentium 4 - 533Mhz FSB brought Intel to release its forth chipset - the I845E and I845G. Intel was largely criticised for its lack of DDR-333 memory support for the I845E and G series made Intel review its chipset designs, the fifth chipset series came in the form of the I845PE and I845GE. Identical to the E and G with DDR-333 support. Again Intel was criticised for its lack of AGP 8x transfers.While not originally intended for the desktop sector, but more towards entry level servers and workstations, the Granite Bay or E7205 chipset was Intel'ts first leap forward for the Pentium 4. Designed as the first Dual Channel DDR SDRAM platform for the Pentium 4 CPU with AGP 8x support, it was a large hit due to its increased memory bandwidth. Now Intel moved this a few steps forward with the Canterwood I875P chipset which we present to you a few days later after the NDA expired due to server issues we were experiencing.

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Details on the New Pentium 4 King

Pentium 4'ts new mascotThe new 875P chipset with Dual DDR400 will replace the 850E in the performance/ professional segment. The price for the i875P chipset, including the ICH-R, is $53 USD. Motherboard manufacturers who want to save $3 can pay $50 USD for the Southbridge without RAID on the ICH5 Southbridge. In any case, Intel still wants to bring the Springdale-G chipset to the market this quarter. This chipset, with its slightly reduced set of features, should be less expensive. However, the Springdale will be equipped with 200 MHz FSB as well.The 875P chipset marks a few milestones for Intel; for starters, it depicts Intel as a company that does listen to the needs and requests of their customers - mainly in its support for DDR400 memory technology. Embracing DDR400 SDRAM is something we never thought we would see Intel do, especially considering their stance on the technology in the past, thus we were quite surprised when we heard of the possibility last year at Computex Taiwan.Enabling 800MHz FSB support on the 875P chipset itself was more of a validation task for Intel; in fact, the amount of work Intel had to do in order to enable the support was relatively minimal considering that many 845PE chipsets will work fine at the increased frequency. Intel will not be offering 845PE chipsets with official support for the 800MHz FSB, so approach such boards at your own riskOne drawback of the I875P chipset is its removal of the 400Mhz FSB. This means if you want to use an I875P you will need either a 533Mhz or 800Mhz FSB CPU. Springdale-G will however support 400/533/800Mhz FSB.

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - 875P in Detail

The NorthbridgeThe 875P Northbridge supports AGP 8X and with this Intel is finally meeting the demands of graphics card manufacturers and the requests orf the enthusiasts. The chip is produced using 250 nanometre technologies. While having 1005 soldering balls on the underside of the chip, the size of the chip is no larger than that of the E7205.The smaller but chunkier model achieves a power dissipation of approx 11 watts with an FSB of 200 MHz. At least the Canterwood Northbridge has only passive cooling on the Intel Reference board. However, some motherboard manufacturers still prefer to use fan-cooled solutions. Gigabyte and ABIT have taken up the active cooling solution.Memory and PATThe memory controller on the I875P is a new generation controller. Using technology first introduced by nVidia nFroce chipsets, Intel uses a 128bit Dual Channel DDR memory controller. Supporting two channels for up to 4GB in four DIMM slots, Intel achieves a Dual Channel Architecture that is equivalent to that used by the nForce 2. One rather unexpected surprise on the I875P chipset is the inclusion of official DDR 400 support. Normally Intel has waited for JEDEC to support a standard before it adopts it; after all it took quite a while after JEDEC adopted DDR-333. DDR-400 memory alone in single channel supports a max theoretical bandwidth of 3.2GB/s, using Dual Channel you get 6.4GB/s, the same bandwidth speed that the 800Mhz FSB P4 is able to generate.Performance Acceleration TechnologyIntel uses a small trick in order to squeeze an extra drop out of the MCH. Through an improvement in the logic design, the manufacturer has succeeded in saving one cycle when the CPU requests to perform a memory access, and a further cycle with the DRAM Chip Select. However, this only works with the 875 and 200 MHz FSB. The Springdale does not have PAT. Generally, the selection process for the Canterwood and Springdale chipsets is made based on "Speed Binning," as it is already known in the fabrication process of CPUs. If the silicon does not meet the requirements of the Canterwood qualification, such as PAT, then it can only be put through the Springdale qualification test. The chip makes a trip to the garbage bin only when it fails both of the tests. CSA - The new BusGigabit Ethernet is slowly becoming the new standard for Ethernet. Most motherboard companies are now integrating Gigabit Ethernet controllers onto their motherboards. Gigabit Ethernet allows 1000 megabit along standard Cat5E Ethernet cable. This is a great increase in bandwidth but this comes at a price. Using the PCI interface increases a bottleneck on the PCI bus. With other devices like RAID and Sound systems the PCI bus can'tt handle the increased load of gigabit Ethernet. Intel'ts latest approach is to incorporate a new bus directly into the Northbridge. The Communications System Architecture or CSA is a second hublink architecture running at 266MB/s, similar to the PCI64 bandwidth. This allows for a direct connection to the Northbridge.ICHThe Intel I/O Controller Hub version 5 is the newest controller chip designed to work with the I875P and I865 chipsets. There are two major features of ICH5 that separate it from its predecessor, ICH4; the first feature is integrated support for a total of 8 USB 2.0 ports. Intel claims that this is the last time they will be upping the number of USB ports supported as 8 seems to meet current and future demand. The next, and by far the most important feature is the Native support for Serial ATA. Up till now, if you wanted Serial ATA you needed to have a Promise, Highpoint or Silicon Image Serial ATA controller chip. Intel is the first of the Chipset manufacturers to have a Serial ATA controller built into its Southbridge. VIA has announced the VT8237 Southbridge, however, this chip has not made a show on the market. If you look at the Serial ATA specification, you'tll notice that the maximum transfer rate is listed as 150MB/s, that is 13% more bandwidth than a 32-bit/33MHz PCI bus can provide! Whether or not drives are currently reaching even half of that maximum transfer rate isn'tt an issue, regardless of what the case is, you never want to create additional bottlenecks; by placing the Serial ATA controller off of the PCI bus, a bottleneck is created that would only be exposed down the road.Intel'ts ICH5 gets around this problem by bringing the Serial ATA controller onto the ICH and bypassing the PCI bus all together. The Serial ATA controller has a direct link to the Hub Link 2.0 interface in ICH5 and thus can offer a full 150MB/s per channel. ICH5 features two Serial ATA channels (supporting a maximum of two drives) and two Parallel ATA channels (supporting a maximum of four drives), all of which may be enabled and used concurrently. Intel also gives another reason to say goodbye to third party SATA controllers with the inclusion of RAID function in the ICH5R version. This allows you to use RAID 0 or 1 on the Serial ATA drives connected to the ICH5R.

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Intel Desktop Motherboard

Intel Desktop MotherboardIt wouldn'tt be a review without some pictures, here we have assembled pictures of the Intel Desktop Motherboard powered by the I875P chipset.
First off we look at the board layout. Intel, while not being one on style and grace in the past, but rather on raw design has changed its ways lately. Gone is the Green PCB that we are used to. Intel now uses a 4 Layer large PCB in a very dark brown. This is used by Albatron and ASUS on special edition PCB'ts, a very nice colour for case modders.
Intel uses a single AGP 8x slot and 5 PCI slots for expansion configuration. With the support for Serial ATA through the ICH5, two standard Serial ATA 150 ports are added to the board supporting RAID. The CSA system is used with Intel'ts new Gigabit Ethernet controller onboard. This allows for Gigabit Ethernet off the PCI bus. eight USB ports are also available, six are available on the backplane and two via expansion bracket for front panel access. Power and IDE connectors are also located in spots that most overclocking companies use. The Main power connector is located behind the memory slots, well out of the way of the CPU socket. The 4 Pin connector is located between the MCH and the I/O panel.
As stated this is the first board from Intel to support the new I857P chipset. We have already stated the specs and features of the I875P chipset in this article. Intel places the controller on a 45 degree angle; this allows for the shortening of trace wires and allows Intel to use a four layer PCB. The ICH5R is supported on this board for eight USB ports, Serial ATA RAID and all the other features that are common on the ICH4.Intel places a very large passive cooling solution on the MCH, Intel states that passive cooling works well enough and that active is not needed for specified FSB speeds. However, overclocking will require cooling better than that of a passive cooler.The BIOS is that of a standard Intel Desktop board. You need to set a jumper in order to configure CPU parameters and clear passwords. Designed similar to that of the ASUS motherboard BIOS, it is pretty easy to get around.

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - Test Setup and Sandra 2003

BenchmarksTest SystemProcessor: Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz (Supplied by Spectrum Communications)Memory: 2x 256MB DDR-400 Kingmax (Supplied by Kingmax Australia)Hard Disk: Western Digital WD80 7200RPM (Supplied by Techbuy)Graphics Card: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro (Supplied by ATI)Software Used: SiSoft Sandra 2003, Lame MP3, Sysmark 2002, 3DMark2001SE, PCMark2002, Vulpine GLMark 1.1, Quake 3 Arena, Star Trek Voyager, Jedi Knight II, Max Payne, Aquanox and UT 2003SiSoft Sandra 2003SiSoft Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) 2001 is a synthetic windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
No surprises that the Intel I875P wins compared to previous Generation Intel chips. Another surprise is its ability to outperform the SiS 655 with DDR-400 support; Intel has squeezed all it can out of the I875P.

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - System Productivity and Multimedia

Real World System ProductivitySysmark 2002Sysmark2002 incorporates the following Internet Content Creation and Office Productivity applications:Office Productivity: Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Microsoft Access 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred v.5, WinZip 8.0, and McAfee Virus Scan 5.13.Internet Content Creation: Adobe Photoshop 6.01, Adobe Premiere 6.0, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.1, Macromedia Dreamweaver 4, and Macromedia Flash 5.
In system production I875P benefits quite well with the increased memory performance and higher FSB.Real World MultimediaLame MP3 EncoderLame MP3 Encoder is used to convert a 120MB WAV file into a 128bit 44Hz MP3 File, the lower the score the better.
Mainconcept MPEG Encoder 1.3.1Mainconcept is used to convert a 1.2GB Digital Video to a MPEP-2 file using 25fps as the default rate. The Benchmark is expressed as time in seconds, of course less is better.
The increased memory of the I875 allows it to take a slight lead here.

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - Synthetic PC and 3D

Synthetic PC and 3D3DMark033DMark03 is the latest instalment in the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 9 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce FX and ATI Radeon 9800), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments.
3DMark03 gives a great impression of the I875P. Higher memory and FSB bandwidth play a pivotal role.PCMark2002PCMark2002 is a completely new, multipurpose benchmark, suited for benchmarking all kinds of PCs, from laptops to workstations, as well as across multiple Windows operating systems. This easy-to-use benchmark makes professional strength benchmarking software available even to novice users. PCMark2002 consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs. PCMark2002 also covers many additional areas outside the scope of other benchmarks.
Due to the 3.06GHz on the 533MHz FSB boards, it gains a lead in the CPU section; in memory i875 is a clear leader.Vulpine GLMark 1.1pVulpine GL mark is a Windows based OpenGL API designed to stress the OpenGL systems of a 3D Accelerator. Version 1.1p adds support for the CineFX engine built into the Geforce FX cards as well as early support for ATI'ts latest R350 cores.
Vulpine gives a win to the I875, though not as large a gap as we would expect, this benchmark is more for 3D graphics tests than CPU and memory.

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - OpenGL

Real World OpenGLQuake 3 ArenaQuake 3 Arena is a real-world OpenGL benchmark that we have been using here at TweakTown for quite a while now because it has proven itself to be one of the best gaming benchmarks around to compare a range of different products.
An outstanding victory to the new i875P.Star Trek VoyagerStar Trek Voyager is a real-world OpenGL benchmark. Based on the Quake 3 Arena engine, this game is a OpenGL master utilising DirectX 8. We also apply the new Opt3D patch to allow for the use of Hardware T&L'ts use as well as new optimisations for AMD Athlon XP and Pentium 4 SSE2.Adding update 1.8 allows us to take more advantage of the new features of the Radeon cards.
Another landslide victory to the Intel i875P.Jedi Knight IIJedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast is a newly released OpenGL game that many have been waiting for. It has much improved graphics over its predecessor. It fully supports advanced shaders, as well as very high texture resolutions and effects. There is one demo included in the multi-player section that is good for benchmarking use. In order to enable the benchmarking mode, you have to make a shortcut to the jk2mp.exe program located in the GameData folder of Jedi Knight 2. You have to put the switch "+set sv_cheats1" (no quotes) at the end of the line in the Target Area so that it looks like this: "C:\Star Wars JK II Jedi Outcast\GameData\jk2mp.exe" +set sv_cheats 1. The demo file used is jk2ffa.
Again the i875 take honours.

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Benchmarks - Direct3D

Real World Direct3DComanche 4 DemoComanche 4 is a helicopter flying game using the DirectX 8.1 graphics interface. It is used to test the memory and 3D sub systems of a motherboard and video processor. Any weaknesses will show up on this baby.
In the first DirectX game the I875P shows its dominance.AquanoxAquanox is the latest instalment of our benchmark software. This game is based heavily on DirectX 8 and 8.1 advancements and is designed to stress video cards to their ultimate limit, in all the best D3D benchmark to date
Aquanox shows little in the way of the I875P and the E7205. 3D card plays a great deal in this test.UT 2003Unreal Tournament 2003 continues the success that Unreal Tournament generated as an online game and benchmark. UT2003 pulls all of its weight on to the 3D and Memory subsystems, pushing graphics reality to the maximum is its game, and you need some serious power to pull this one off
In the Final test, the i875P takes the final win.

Intel I875P "Canterwood" - Conclusion

ConclusionWith the intentions of Intel to use the i875P to replace the 850/850E, Intel has put a lot of work into the i875P, and this work has shown up in a number of places. These include its new feature set, impressive support for current and future systems and its overall power and performance.Intel'ts past Pentium 4 chipset upgrades have been very mediocre, simply a FSB change in one and a memory support upgrade to another. The i875P adds everything computer users have been looking for.The inclusion of Dual Channel DDR for one is one of the biggest features that has been requested for Intel Pentium 4, many were leaning towards nVidia to provide this. Another is the use of DDR-400 memory, which isn'tt officially a JEDEC standard, Intel has moved ahead, working with JEDEC to validate the memory, and use it before it'ts officially out. Additions of super memory tweaks like PAT also adds to the sweetness of the overall chipset. The increase of the FSB to 800MHz in the i875P is also welcomed, rather than having to release a new chipset a couple of months down the track as a stop gap before its next product upgrades.The addition of the new ICH5 and ICH5R has shown that Intel is moving towards a goal that the enthusiast level and high end desktop and server market have been waiting for quite some time - fast and reliable storage without added controller systems.In all Intel has made the best chipset for the Intel Pentium 4 since the introduction of DDR SDRAM. Intel has put together the best technologies with one of the most proven processors and done it right for the first time.- ProsFastUltra StableDual Channel Memory400MHz DDR SupportNative Serial ATARAID with ICH5- ConsSlightly more expensive than the upcoming Springdale-G chipsetRating - 10 / 10 and TweakTown'ts Editors Choice Award

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